When I was thirteen or fourteen my friends and I used to go to a little Italian restaurant that was around the corner from our high school. We were there almost every day and there was often this guy huddled in the corner booth with his notebooks and pens.
I was fascinated by him.
My friends didn’t share my fascination and often remarked at how weird he seemed. Seeing him so often afforded me the opportunity to figure out his schedule. If it was early in the day he’d have coffee beside him and if it was later in the day he’d have red wine to encourage the muse. It didn’t matter what day of the week or what time of day it was I was pretty certain that most days he’s be there.
I saw him regularly for many months and finally I gathered my courage and asked him what he was doing. He was happy to talk to me and welcomed the intrusion. He told me he was an author – that he wrote novels to make his living. He explained how he and his wife had a couple of small children and he found it hard to concentrate at home so he brought his work to the restaurant.
We didn’t talk often after that but I always said hello and he was always open to my questions. I’ve often thought of him over the years when I see other people in pubs, coffee shops or the park writing. Times have changed now though; people no longer have notebooks and pens but laptops or tablets, but the process remains the same.
And I’m still fascinated.
Many years ago I started a list of things I wanted to accomplish in my life and the very first thing that came to mind was writing a book while sitting in a pub.
I’m 43 years old – very soon to be 44 and I still think of that man and our conversation from so many years ago. I still think of him sitting there writing furiously at times and at other times chuckling to himself or sitting there lost in thought.
If you read my post last week NaNoWriMo you know I’m currently writing a book and yesterday I sat in a pub with my computer, a notebook, a half litre of (white) wine and my muse. We spent several hours together happily writing away and when I was done I could cross out one of the things on my bucket list.
Thank you to the anonymous man from the restaurant years ago, you altered the course of my life and to you I am very grateful.